A few months ago I was having trouble falling asleep after night shifts. I’d arrive home, absolutely exhausted, but too amped up to fall asleep. The mental countdown of how many hours until the next night shift just made things worse.
Then I remembered a little trick I’d discovered years ago. It was so simple and effective that I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about it. The trick? Reading!
Reading fiction for 15 minutes at bedtime works better than anything else I’ve tried.
I discovered reading as a powerful stress-buster while working a high octane job. During that period, I’d come home feeling wired and tired. Then I’d sit like a zombie in front of the TV. I’d lose hours but not feel any more relaxed. I knew I needed to do something different to transition home.
That is when I learned about the superpowers of reading. DYK that just a few minutes of reading can actually slow your heart rate and ease muscle tension? This makes it an amazing anxiety antidote. And it’s cheap, easy, and at your fingertips!
Instead of tuning into the TV to relax, I committed to reading for 15 minutes after I came home. I couldn’t believe how quickly it calmed my nerves and set me up for a more relaxed time at home. What an easy and great trick to turn off the stress.
I might look like a grownup, but I can still benefit from a good bedtime story. (Or, at least a chapter or two.) Any kind of reading can help soothe frazzled nerves, but fiction is a perfect escape for sleepytime.
Bedtime is definitely not the time for stimulating books that get your mind revved up. You’ve probably had enough of that on your night shift! So no self-help books, investment guides, or career-related reading before snoozeville. Bedtime is a perfect time to dive into a great story, giving your mind something lowkey to mull over.
Why 15 minutes?
Fifteen minutes is doable. Even when I come home exhausted, I tell myself, “Just 15 minutes. You can do 15 minutes.” Within no time, I am usually totally relaxed and ready to drift off.
What about you? Do you relax by reading at bedtime?